Dataset Development Software &family Research Item Bank

Period of Performance: 09/15/1998 - 09/14/1999


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sociometrics Corporation
Mountain View, CA 94040
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: The investigators propose to develop an integrated software program that develops and documents social science research studies. The program will perform the following functions: 1) Instrument generation -- generate a fully formatted research instrument in print, ASCII, and html formats. 2) Codebook generation -- generate the data set documentation in a printed codebook (also in ASCII and html format), flow chart, and data file map. 3) Data entry -- provide for data entry from completed questionnaires, with simultaneous error checking. 4) Program file generation -- produce a raw data file in ASCII format, and build the program statement files needed to transform the raw data file into SPSS and/or SAS system files. The software will automate tasks best done by computer, improve instrumentation and documentation by providing a complete, high-quality structure and format, and reduce the post data-collection effort of documentation a public-use data set. To assist family researchers, the investigators will also build an item bank of high quality, commonly used questions, scales, and interviewing tools. This bank will be accessible within the program to permit users to select questions to develop their own research instruments. The item bank will be filled with several thousand questionnaire items drawn from the leading studies in family research. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The proposed software has the potential to be useful to nearly every social science researcher who is collecting primary data. It also has the potential to be suitable for classroom use in courses on social science methods or courses that require data collection and analysis by student. Beyond the academic disciplines, there is potential use in evaluation research, market research, and program management (where management includes the collection and analysis of client data on intake and process forms). Of particular importance for the commercial potential of this product is the item bank, which will contain several product's usefulness and value will be greatly enhanced by this feature as it will both speed the development of new surveys, and do so with items for which there are nationally representative comparison data.